Saturday, 6th February 2016 @ 17:00
In a frenetically fantastic spectacle at The Stoop, Ben Foden scored a last minute try in the 83rd minute to win 23-27 in front of a sold out Stoop Stadium.
In a game filled with broken play and running rugby from both sides, a penalty and two conversions from Stephen Myler plus a try from Christian Day and Luther Burrell put Saints into the lead going into half-time.
Quins trailed by three heading into the break after Nick Evans added conversions to George Merrick’s first ever try for the Club and Ross Chisholm’s score. With the wind behind the home side going into the second half, it was all to play for as Quins looked to continue their winning record at home since May 2015.
Victory looked to have been secured for Quins as Ben Botica went to kick out the ball at 23-20 up after 82 minutes of play, however, the fly-half missed touch and Northampton were able to run the ball back crushing Quins spirits with a converted try to wrap up proceedings.
Saints started the game strongly with a disallowed Tom Wood try in the second minute. The referee deemed the flanker was held up by Kyle Sinckler who had an outstanding match at tight head.
However, the 2013/14 Premiership winners did not come out of Quins’ half empty handed. After they launched another wave of attack, Stephen Myler put the visitors on the board with a penalty to the left of the posts.
The excitement never dulled as Quins began to find their stride. Sinckler made a clean break, fed by Evans and when possession was recycled, George Merrick barrelled over in the eighth minute for his first points for the club in 24 appearances.
Straight from the re-start Quins were penalised for holding on but Myler hit the uprights. However, two minutes later the visitors were back in the lead. Evans missed touch from a penalty and the Saints profited from his mistake.
Burrell sprinted down field, closely followed by Ken Pisi on his inside who after receiving the ball passed to Day who went in unopposed under the posts bringing the score to 7-10.
With the wind against Quins in the first half, kicking was made impossible in the conditions and Quins had to run the ball out of their half. Getting their strong runners into the game, Sinckler and James Horwill made decent yards with ball in hand. Finally, in the 25th minute, Saints’ defence was unlocked and Harry Sloan combined his power and pace to find space on the left wing passing to Chisholm who paced over for his sixth try of the season.
With the conversion, Quins led 14-10. However, Saints were not afraid to run the ball either and Harry Mallinder made a break deep into Quins’ half, passing to Burrell who went over to the right of the posts. Myler added the conversion, making the score 14-17 going into half-time.
The second half started well for Quins and when Saints were penalised for not rolling away, Evans stepped up to bring the scores level at 17-17.
With the wind behind them, a deliberate knock on just outside Saints’ 22 gave Evans the opportunity to put Quins back into the lead which was duly converted in the 48th minute.
With 15 minutes to play, Quins provided themselves with a try scoring opportunity. After Botica kicked to the corner from a penalty, the forwards set up a rolling maul from the line out and looked to have scored as the maul collapsed over the line. The referee went into his pocket and sin binned Tom Wood and Quins had a second bite of the cherry. With the rolling maul set up once again, Quins made no ground and were penalised allowing Northampton to ease the pressure- a vital opportunity for points missed.
Lee Dickson took the penalty quickly with a tap and run bringing play 50 metres down field. With the ball in Quins’ half, the home side conceded a penalty and Myler kicked it successfully to once again bring the score level at 20-20.
In the 72nd minute, Saints were penalised for holding on and Botica kicked for goal bringing the score to 23-20. The score line remained the same and despite mounting Northampton pressure, Quins defended heroically to keep Saints out for the all-important try.
As the clock hit 80, Quins fumbled the ball back into their possession in goal and looked to have sealed victory when Botica went to kick the ball out. However, not finding touch, the ball was recycled by Saints and despite the covering tackles Northampton played the phases and Foden found a gap and exploited it.
Myler added insult to injury with the conversion bringing the final score to 23-27 with a losing bonus point little consolation for a match which should have been won.